We often hear today that we are living at the end of time. If there is a church or a group of people that should really understand, it is the Seventh-day Adventist people. We have the Bible and have been blessed with the Spirit of Prophecy. If we heed the instruction as never before and pay attention to the message of truth, we will not be ashamed when Jesus returns.
It would be worthwhile to meditate, not only on the time in which we are living, but also to enquire into the special message that the Lord has for each one of us. The question that each of us should be asking is, Who shall stand and what is required of me? We know that Jesus is at the door and we claim to be the people proclaiming the Advent of Christ to this earth. But, are we ready ourselves for this momentous event? Who can stand while this earth is to experience the greatest catastrophic judgments that prophecy has declared will take place just prior to Jesus’ coming? It will be a time such as never been seen before.
Every day we hear about calamities, earthquakes and chaos around the world. We are told: “All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8). The Lord is getting ready to shake up this whole earth. He is sending these warnings now for those who know about this truth and to get busy and warn those who are unaware that the door of opportunity will soon be closed. Time has been extended for a little while for those men and women who have not yet received the truth. Time is short. The Lord is about to do great things and He needs to have a people. He needs to have a church that will be ready to stand up for truth through these trying times.
A very well-known text is Revelation 6:16, 17 which says, “And [they] said to the mountains and rocks, fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” According to Revelation 6, there will be two groups of people when the Lord comes. The first group, His church, those whom He has purified, will be standing to welcome their Saviour coming in the clouds of heaven. The second group, a great multitude, will be calling on the rocks to fall on them. This second group has not made the necessary preparation of repentance and turning from sin. They cannot bear to be in the presence of a holy Lord.
What a shameful day it is going to be for the majority of the world who have rejected the gospel invitation and for those who have professed belief in God yet failed to obey His teachings. Many who have preached and taught others about this saving truth who do not endure to the end will be included in this second group, the sad great multitude. Make sure that you are found in the group that will receive the Lord in glory when He comes. We are told that the rocks and the mountains that were a refuge for God’s people in the day of trouble will now be those rocks and mountains that are sought as a hiding place for the great multitude that will not be ready for the coming of Christ.
We need to find out how to have the victory. A secret for victory is found in 1 John 2:28, 29: “And now little children, abide in Him, that when He shall appear we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at his coming.” John here writes to the Christian people at the end of the first century but his message applies to the end of the Christian era. Here, at the end of time, John reminds us and calls us little children and in very clear language, presents to us that we must abide in Him. The great tragedy of the majority of God’s professed people is that we have not learned the secret of abiding in Christ.
Abiding in Christ is the secret for victory for those who welcome Christ in the clouds of heaven. The lesson must be learned by experience and not merely by intellect. Remember, the majority will be ashamed when Christ comes because throughout their lives they believed they would go with Christ when He comes; but instead, they cry for the rocks and the mountains to hide them. They have neglected to learn what it means to abide in Him, daily consecrating their lives to Him, enquiring of His will, living His life and making Him Lord of their lives.
The rest of the verse says, “Ye know that He is righteous, ye know that everyone that does righteousness is born of Him.” Righteousness is a word that is often debated, even among Adventists. A righteous person will do the right thing in the eyes of God. He has learned how to do the right thing by abiding in Christ. The word abide is so important in the word of God that it repeats in chapter 15 of the book of John time after time. We must discover the practical meaning of this experience in our lives.
The failure of living in victory can be simply traced to not abiding in Christ, for in Him there is no failure. Jesus is coming for His friends. He is coming for a church, a group of people that have learned to surrender totally to Him, trusting in His promises. He will know them, for they are like Him.
One must ask himself, Do I know Jesus? Am I known by Him, or is the relationship I have with Him restricted to coming to church on the Sabbath? Is Jesus a daily companion? Is He involved in every decision I make? Do I share my heart with Him, my joys as well as my cares? Here lies the secret of abiding. The Bible says, “At that day, he shall know that I am in My Father and ye in Me and I in you.” John 14:20. Jesus offers a relationship between Himself and the Father and the Father and us, and the result will be abiding in His presence.
Often we are very loose with modern-day language and tend to believe that we can abide by just spending some time with someone. You may think you know your family members by abiding with them. But in Biblical language the term means far more. It is to have constant communication with God.
“Abiding in Christ means a constant receiving of His Spirit.” The Desire of Ages, 676. The Biblical dictionary says that the word abide in Greek or Hebrew is a constant communion. It is such a close communion that in our modern day language we would say a 24/7 communion with Jesus.
That will be the experience of the church for which Jesus returns, the church that will not be ashamed when He comes. The people who make up that church will be waiting to see their Lord, the One Who has been their constant companion through all of their stormy trials. As the branches of the vine constantly draw the sap from the living vine, the channel of communication between heaven and earth must be continually open. The One Who created us knows best how to direct our every decision. As we cling to Jesus we receive from Him by faith the strength and perfection of His own character, the beauty of His grace.
Jesus becomes our daily friend, One that will never leave us or forsake us. Through His grace we receive forgiveness for our sins and the invitation to have constant communion with Him. Because of His grace we receive the strength and perfection of His own character in our lives.
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.” John 15:4. As a result of abiding in Christ we receive fruit. If we want to bear fruit, abide in Him. The reason the fruits of righteousness are not being seen is because we have not learned or have not discovered the secret of a Christian life, which is to abide in Christ and constantly receive of His Spirit. Jesus says, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.” Verse 5.
Verse 6 tells us what will happen if we do not abide in Him: “If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch” to be burned. It is now that we must learn to walk with Him and constantly receive of Him His Holy Spirit to enable us to bear many fruits.
In addition to the fruit is new power in our prayers. Jesus says, “If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” John 15:7. There is a condition to having our prayers heard and answered. Jesus says, “If ye abide in Me.” Abiding in Jesus is the condition to be receiving constantly of His grace in our lives. Maybe this is the reason that often times we feel our prayers go no further than the ceiling and we do not receive answers or experience the beauty of joy and real communion with Him.
Abiding in Christ results in receiving many fruits of righteousness. It will become second nature to do the things that are pleasing to God instead of doing things that please the flesh. We need His Spirit to perfect our characters. Often is heard the cry of many of our own brethren, “No, it is impossible for us to live a perfect life, because, after all, we are human.” When they are told that through the grace of God it is possible to walk in the perfect path to heaven they mock, “O, so you think you’re perfect already!” No, but one thing we can do, because of His grace, is to keep aiming for that goal. Jesus promised that if we continue to abide in Him, “I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one.” John 17:23.
This statement is deeper than we at first might think. Jesus says that He can make us one also with Him and the Father. That is one of the greatest privileges that a human being can receive, but it is only possible as we abide in Him. That is the secret. We must abide in Him constantly, when we go to church and when we sit down in our homes. Remember, the Biblical language means a constant receiving of the grace of God into our heart and into our lives. Only then will we discover the secret of having a life of many fruits, having our prayers answered. Sin will be broken in our lives and have no more power over us and we will be overcomers as many have been in times past.
Paul says to walk in the Spirit. This is possible only by God’s grace and by what Jesus has done for us in shedding His blood at Calvary. If we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, we will be dead to the flesh, to our sinful nature, and walk in the Spirit. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1. This means they are walking with Christ, their only hope and salvation. He is the Lord of their lives, to Whom they give their will. They no longer walk after the flesh but after the Spirit.
In Romans 8:10, Paul says, “And if Christ be in you …” This word if is a powerful little two-letter word. Paul said if I want to walk after the Spirit, I am no longer walking in the flesh; Jesus must be in me.
This means that Christ takes control of your heart, your mind and your whole life. The body will be dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. This new heart experience makes a person ready for translation to heaven. With His Spirit in our life we walk as He walked and live His life. “He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.” I John 2:6.
How did Jesus walk? He went around doing good. He did only the will of His Father who sent Him. He taught us how to love each other. Study His life in the gospels, for that is to be our example.
When a person is not abiding in Christ, then you will see the opposite. Without Christ, man is a reprobate. Paul said, “Examine yourselves.” We are not told to examine our pastors, our elders or our husbands or wives. Our first duty or responsibility to the Lord, is to examine ourselves. “Examine yourself whether you be in the faith, prove your own selves.” In other words, Paul is saying that you claim to be a Christian and that you are abiding in Christ, so prove it! “Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” II Corinthians 13:5. “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27.
This is a mystery, but that mystery has been revealed. There are many people who have never known what it is to receive the grace of God. Having been raised a Roman Catholic, I attended the Catholic Seminary because that was all my family ever knew. It was only by God’s grace that I was brought into this light. The Bible presents to us the most beautiful news a human being can hear. Not only are we called to be sons and daughters of the kingdom, but we are called to reflect His character in a perfect way, and it is all by His grace.
Two choices—abide in Christ and allow His Spirit to direct, or become a reprobate. “If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” John 15:6. Unfortunately, the majority of God’s professed people will be found in that group of people that are represented as the branches that will be cut off. Pray that you will be found among the remnant who will not be ashamed when Jesus comes, but will receive an abundant blessing.
The Seventh-day Adventist movement has been described in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy as a movement because it is describing a group of people that are moving forward, marching forward and upward to heaven.
“Sinners inquired with weeping: ‘What must I do to be saved?’ ” The Great Controversy, 369. At this critical hour of earth’s history this should also be our enquiry.
“Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.” II Peter 1:10, 11. We are not to make somebody else’s calling sure, but our own! Soon Jesus will ask, “What have you done with My grace that is sufficient for you?” What will be your answer?
Jesus said, If you abide in Me you will never fail. What a promise!
Raphael Perez is pastor of the Eternal Gospel Church and editor of The Eternal Gospel Herald. He has been engaged in a campaign for over 20 years promoting the Three Angels’ Messages throughout the United State and abroad through printing, billboards, radio, prison ministry, foreign missions, full-page newspaper advertisements, and television. He may be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.